Manifesto of the Neapolitan Workers’ Federation: No Rights Without Duties. No Duties Without Rights.

By Errico Malatesta (1871)

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(1853 - 1932)

Italian, Anarchist Intellectual, Anti-Capitalist, and Anti-Fascist

: There have almost certainly been better anarchist writers, more skilled anarchist organizers, anarchists who have sacrificed more for their beliefs. Perhaps though, Malatesta is celebrated because he combined all of these so well, exemplifying thought expressed in deed... (From: Cunningham Bio.)
• "Our task then is to make, and to help others make, the revolution by taking advantage of every opportunity and all available forces: advancing the revolution as much as possible in its constructive as well as destructive role, and always remaining opposed to the formation of any government, either ignoring it or combating it to the limits of our capacities." (From: "The Anarchist Revolution," by Errico Malatesta.)
• "...all history shows that the law's only use is to defend, strengthen and perpetuate the interests and prejudices prevailing at the time the law is made, thus forcing mankind to move from revolution to revolution, from violence to violence." (From: "Further Thoughts on the Question of Crime," by Er....)
• "...the agelong oppression of the masses by a small privileged group has always been the result of the inability of the oppressed to agree among themselves to organize with others for production, for enjoyment and for the possible needs of defense against whoever might wish to exploit and oppress them. Anarchism exists to remedy this state of affairs..." (From: "Anarchism and Organization," Authored by Errico M....)

(1846 - 1892)

Carlo Cafiero (1 September 1846 – 17 July 1892) was an Italian anarchist, champion of Mikhail Bakunin during the second half of the 19th century and one of the main proponents of anarcho-communism and insurrectionary anarchism during the First International. (From:

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Manifesto of the Neapolitan Workers’ Federation

The Neapolitan Workers’ Federation recognizes and proclaims the following principles:

  1. All beings human in nature are equal and, since they all share the same rights and duties, there are no rights without duties, no duties without rights.[1]

  2. Since labor is a human necessity, there is a duty upon all to labor and everyone is entitled to enjoyment of the entire product of his labor.

  3. For that very reason, the instruments of labor and raw materials belong to the whole of humanity and everyone is entitled to make use of them in pursuit of his own activities.[2]

  4. Every individual born is entitled to be reared, fed, and educated technically, comprehensively and equally by the collective to which he has ties, and that collective is under a duty to guarantee and uphold his freedom of choice in whatever area of expertize.

  5. Union, association and federation between individuals and collectives should be voluntary and achieved from the bottom up.

  6. To us, the implementation of this represents the authentic Emancipation of the Proletariat, that being the great—the only goal—towards which all of our efforts should be directed; these, ipso facto, being directed, not at the establishment of fresh privileges, but at the establishment of a universal equality of rights and duties.

  7. Since the cause of labor recognizes no borders, has no fatherland other than the world, and cannot succeed without the unanimous agreement of all the world’s workers, the Neapolitan Workers’ Federation, founded upon the precepts of freedom and autonomy, stands with all those nuclei and Workers’ Societies across the world that set themselves the same purpose as that for which it was established.[3]

The Federal Secretary: Errico Malatesta, student.

[The signatures of nine Federation members, including Carlo Cafiero, follow.]

[1] This was part of the preamble to the provisional rules of the International and was one of two sentences that Marx had inserted there as a concession to the moral language of members that followed the Italian republican Giuseppe Mazzini.

[2] This point and the previous one, together, formulate collectivism, the belief in the common ownership of the means of production and the individual enjoyment of the products of one’s labor.

[3] As Max Nettlau notes, this point expresses membership in the International in a necessarily vague form because the International had been banned by the authorities in Naples. The points from the second to the fifth reflect Bakunin’s ideas, while the others summarize items from the preamble to the provisional rules of the International.

(Source: Text from the Method of Freedom: An Errico Malatesta Reader. Originally published as an undated flier around the end of 1871. The present translation is from the reprint in Max Nettlau, Bakunin e l’Internazionale in Italia: dal 1864 al 1872, Geneva, 1928.)

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March 21, 2021; 9:15:25 AM (America/Los_Angeles)
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